November 2023, article in a peer-reviewed journal
Marine Pollution Bulletin

Sarah-Jeanne Royer, Raquel N. Corniuk, Andrew McWhirter, Harry W. Lynch IV, Kydd Pollock, Kevin O'Brien, Lauriane Escalle, Katherine A. Stevens, Gala Moreno and Jennifer M. Lynch

  • Publication type: Article in peer-reviewed journal
  • Publication journal: Marine Pollution Bulletin
  • Publication date: November 2023
  • Collaborators: Center for Marine Debris Research, Hawaiʻi Pacific University (USA), The Ocean Cleanup (NL), The Nature Conservancy (USA), Papahānaumokuākea Marine Debris Project (USA), Oceanic Fisheries Programme, The Pacific Community (NCL), International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) (USA), Chemical Sciences Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology (USA)
  • DOI: /10.1016/j.marpolbul.2023.115585


Abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) is a major source of marine debris with significant ecological and economic consequences. We documented the frequency, types, sizes, and impacts of ALDFG recovered from Hawaiʻi and Palmyra Atoll in the Central North Pacific Ocean (CNPO) from 2009 to 2021. A total of 253 events weighing 15 metric tons were recovered, including 120 drifting fish aggregating device (dFAD) components, 61 conglomerates, fewer distinct nets, lines, buoys, and unique gear. The Hawaiian Islands were dominated by conglomerates and Palmyra Atoll by dFADs. DFADs were connected to the Eastern Pacific tropical tuna purse seine fishery. Windward O’ahu experienced up to seven events or 1800 kg of ALDFG per month. Across Hawaiʻ, ALDFG was present on 55 % of survey days, including hotspots with 100 % occurrence. Coral reef damage, entangled wildlife, navigational and removal costs are reported. The data highlight the large magnitude of ALDFG and associated impacts in the CNPO.